Zaw Htay says the government feels sorry for IDPs in Rakhine State

30 March 2019
Zaw Htay says the government feels sorry for IDPs in Rakhine State
This picture taken on January 4, 2019 shows people, displaced by violence between ethnic Rakhine rebels and Myanmar's army, arriving at a camp in Kyauktaw, Rakhine state. Photo: AFP

President Office spokesman Zaw Htay said that his government felt sorry to see war refugees fleeing from their homes due to fighting in Rakhine State.

“We saw civilians and innocent people being killed and wounded in this fighting. The government is extremely sorry to see these people fleeing from their homes and now they are in trouble,” Zaw Htay said.

Zaw Htay was speaking at a press conference held at President Office on March 29.

“When the war breaks out and armed conflicts happen, the people who suffered instability and insecurity directly are the local Rakhine people,” Zaw Htay added.

Currently the Tatmadaw (government defence services) and the Arakan Army (AA) are fighting in Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Kyauktaw, Ponngyun, Rathedaung, Mrauk-U and other areas in Rakhine State.

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled from their homes in the conflict zones has reached over 10,000. According to the figures released by United Nations Organization for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the number of these IDPs has reached up to over 16,000 and they are now taking refuge in 58 makeshift camps in six townships in Rakhine State.

Civilians were killed and wounded in this fighting and both sides is the conflicts had suffered casualties.

Zaw Htay said that Tatmadaw and AA had 103 engagements and skirmishes in the period of January 4 to March 28, 2019 and there were 44 mine explosions during this period.

In these engagements and skirmishes, 27 police personnel and 12 civilians were killed and 26 police personnel, 20 civilians totaling 46 were wounded, the government confirmed in a statement.

The government spokesman Zaw Htay said at the press conference that 58 personnel from AA were killed, eight were caught alive and 22 small arms were seized in these engagements and skirmishes.

But the government did not disclose the casualty figure from the Tatmadaw side and he said that these figures would be released separately by the Tatmadaw themselves.